It's gonna get sappy up in here.
I don't wear makeup every single day, but no matter how much I am or am not wearing, my brows will almost always be filled in. I think my face looks fine without any makeup, but these brows always need some help.
Like, what are those? I actually didn't even notice how weird and sparse they were until I took the photo above. It looks like they've been subjected to years of over-plucking, which they have not (which is clear, if you get up close and see that I have as many stray brow hairs and I have actual brow hairs.)
Every time a new brow product is released, I summon it from whatever publicist will do my bidding. Because of this, I have no shortage of brow fillers, just in case I run out mid-application. A month or two ago, I ran out of my favorite pencil just as I had finished the first brow, and my biggest fear was realized.
Brows are a funny thing. Yeah, they frame your face, and a stronger brow generally makes everything look a little better. But, the way you do your brows says a lot about you, and the way you do the rest of your face. Brows are pretty telling in that way. I've used everything and, while I love new products and innovations in beauty, I'm always happiest with a simple brow pencil. They subtly fill everything in without making anything razor sharp. Have you seen dizzying Instagram videos of people doing a full brow using five or six products? Shoutout to them, but that's just not me. On most days, I can probably do my whole face in the time it takes them to lay down one brow.
At the end of this month, Benefit is overhauling their brow line, making their existing products even better and introducing new ones that are sure to be some of your new favorites.
First off, before any color products, they released a primer that nourishes brows and helps the products stay where you put them all day.
The applicator is wild. It's a rubbery, flexible head with little teeth that help evenly apply the primer through your brows.
You apply and wait until it has fully dried, before you draw on your brow color. I wasn't crazy about this step because the gel takes a bit longer than I would like to dry down (read: not instantly,) about two or three minutes. When it does dry down, you can feel some grip on your brows, but it doesn't interfere with whatever product you're using to fill your brows.
I don't often see my brows fading during the night, but I will, from time to time, notice that they weren't the shape at the end of the night that they were at the beginning. I was interested to see if I saw any difference when I used this primer. More on that in a minute.
I'll kick it off with what I know best - the standard eyebrow pencil.
This is available in six shades, of which I use the second to darkest. My hair is dark brown (well...), but my facial hair is black. This makes picking brow products difficult as some browns can be too light or too red, but blacks are too severe. Benefits shade 05 is perfect.
This is pretty much your standard brow pencil, with some really strong features that just might set it apart from others like it.
Hey look I have brows again.
The tip is extra-fine, not unlike my favorite MAC pencil, so you can draw on realistic hair-like strokes, dramatically filling brows in while still making them look natural. The pencil tip is stiff and leaves an opaque trail of product behind without wearing down too quickly.
The product doesn't reverse twist itself back into the pencil when you apply pressure to it, which is a frustrating trait that I've run into on more than one occasion. It has a spoolie on the end for combing product through and softening and lines, and both ends are capped. These might not seem like big standout features of such a simple product, but when you use a brow pencil every day, they're things you notice.
I snapped a selfie for all of you in by bathroom at 3am after ten hours of wear and through a shift of bar tending (on a night where my face was especially oily) having worn the primer and the pencil.
The color really did cling fully to the primer! Say nothing about the rest of the face. It was 3am.
This is Benefit's version of a brow pomade. Personally, I don't use pomades because they always end up looking to severe, and that's coming from a guy who likes to take every look to the extreme. I know that people are obsessed with them, including many of you reading this, so I took this one for spin.
For starters, there's a built-in angled brush that pops right out of the cap so you can apply it anywhere.
It looks like it is just begging to pop off and get all over everything in your purse, but it's surprisingly sturdy! I fucked around with it for a while and knocked it into a bunch of stuff to see if I could get the brush to pop off, but it never did.
They never refer to this as a pomade, but a cream-gel. What's the difference?
What I'm about to say is gonna sound like a negative but it's actually the exact opposite: I found the cream-gel to be a little more dense than your typical pomade, to almost have a little more grit to it. It still applies very smoothly, but you still have a lot of control of just how intense the color is on your face, and it's as easy to get a light layer of color as it is a full, dark brow. Most products like this go from zero to sixty instantly, but I was surprised at its workability.
The cream-gel formula is still a bit too intense for me, but I like it a lot for the type of product. I'd be interested to hear how some of your Dipbrow fanatics think it measures up.
Gimme Brow is BACK with the same great formula, and an additional medium shade for those too dark for the light shade, but too light for the dark shade.
I'm not normally a brow gel guy because they tend to build on and enhance the brows that you already have. Which is great, and ideal, unless you have brows as wonky as mine.
I need bolder color and structure, which is why I stick to a pencil, but these are great for travel or if you're really pressed for time, or, if you're like me, both at once.
This is essentially a highlighter for your eyebrows. It's less about adding to them, and more about enhancing what is already there.
It's another comb-on product, but it's actually very different from the brow gel.
For starters, the brushes:
While the Gimme Brow brow gel brush is tiny with tightly packed bristles, 3D Browtones is larger (still small, but significantly bigger than Gimme Brow's) and has taller, rubbery teeth.
The product itself:
The product is significantly lighter and more sheer, with just the slightest bit of shine to it, aimed to highlight.
Sometimes when I use brow gel, I feel that even brown can read black, and I found that 3D Brow Tones really did soften things up.
I'd grab this if your go-to brow product is a brow gel, because it will pair really nicely with many different shades or brands, or if you have thinning or gray brows and want to enhance them without making them crazy dark.
Yes, another eyebrow pencil. This one is different from the aforementioned Precisely, My Brow Eyebrow Pencil because of it's tip. It has a triangular applicator that we've been seeing so much of lately from brands like Hourglass, Anastasia, etc.
This triangular tip is functional for filling in a lot of area at once, instead of little by little with a skinnier pencil, and getting even brows more quickly.
In theory, the pointed tip defines and the wide end of it fills. I see the draw of these, but across the board, I feel like they kind of are better in theory than practice.
Of brow pencils with this shape, this is the smallest version I've used. When I used this little guy and tried using the flat end to fill, the small size made it hard to apply the right pressure so it would apply product evenly, rather than a dense, thin line from the defining tip and almost no product from the wide end that was meant to fill. I had this problem a couple of times, and what was supposed to save me time actually ended up making the process a little more difficult, leaving me with brows a little more dramatic than I would have liked.
That's the thing about brows, you can build them up quite a bit while still having them subtly frame your face and enhance your features, there's a fine line between strong and overbearing, and I think I just crossed it.
Overall, this brow collection has something to offer everyone. Almost every product is available in six shades, they're versatile, easy to use, and the packaging is very sturdy (and so cute. I'm always on the fence with Benefit's packaging but this mirrored-angled-art deco moment they're having brings even me to my knees.)
If you want to check out the entire new and revamped collection, they're all on display on Benefit's site and will hit stores on June 24th.
What's your favorite brow product? Are you a pencil or a pomade girl? Fight it out in the comments below!
Tynan may or may not have strong brows on Twitter @TynanBuck.